Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner

Hi! I'm in my beach house now and have internet. Yay! SM is still in France, but sent me this review to post for you. Enjoy!


Clever and head-turningly attractive, fourteen-yearold Yann is an orphan who has been raised in Paris by Têtu, a dwarf with secrets he has yet to reveal to the gypsy boy. It's the winter of 1789, and the duo have been working for a vain magician named Topolain. On the night when Topolain's vanity brings his own death, Yann's life truly begins. That's the night he meets shy Sido, an heiress with an ice-cold father, a young girl who has only known loneliness until now. Though they have the shortest of conversations, an attachment is born that will influence both their paths.

And what paths those will be! Revolution is afoot in France, and Sido is being used as a pawn. Only Yann will dare to rescue her, and he'll be up against a fearful villain who goes by the name Count Kalliovski, but who has often been called the devil. It'll take all of Yann's newly discovered talent to unravel the mysteries of his past and Sido's and to fight the devilish count.


Character Development: 9/10
Originality: 10/10
Overall Enjoyment: 10/10
Ending: 8/10
Voice: 10/10
Setting: 10/10
Recommendation: 9/10
Total: 65/70

Grade: A+

Age Appropriate?
Cussing: None at all.
Alcohol, Drugs, etc: No illegal usage thereof.
Sexual Content: None, only very briefly in conversation.
Disturbing Images/Violence: Bloody scenes, murder/massacre scenes, some creepy puppet stuff...

The Red Necklace is a book that I have read and loved many times. In honor of the upcoming release of the US version of the sequel, The Silver Blade, and my recent trip to France, I decided to reread it.

Sally Gardner's writing has a fairy-tale quality to it, yet the subject matter is dark, serious, believable, and bloody. With simple, surprising statements Gardner weaves a complicated lacework of a plotline around the events of the French Revolution. She is bluntly truthful about the horrors and violence involved, and this adds infinite layers to the story.

Yann and Sido's tale - told through omniscient third person - is sweet yet real. Every line, word, and letter is arranged strategically and deliberately, so that nothing is meaningless. The effect is a mysterious, captivating book that I have adored through countless rereadings.

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